“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Get Your Facts Straight

Salaad said...

Ash is a friend of fair thinking. Of course, the Neocon shills and Christian Zionists at the Elephant Barcan scarcely contain their glee at the prospect of more suffering for the Egyptian people, and continue to vaunt their 'realistic' perspective that brutality always wins. They need to believe that, because it's their only weapon against human freedom. And anybody can be sacrificed as long as their interests are preserved.

Those of us who support the struggle of the Egyptians to rid themselves of tyranny do not need to be reminded that evil often wins; we have seen it over and over again!!! The revolution hangs in the balance, and anyone with a shred of decency will be hoping that through their determination and commitment to non-violent change the pro-democracy demonstrators will ultimately triumph!!!

If you can't say something constructive, and all you have to offer is pessimistic predictions of disaster with malignant 'I told you so's, you have no place in a sensible, civilised conversation.

Neocon shills at the EB?  Hardly. As you can see in the video, the "Neocons" were calling for Democracy in Egypt back in 2005.  Christian Zionists at the EB?  Maybe one or two.  Regardless, Neocons and Christians do not delight in the suffering of the Egyptian people. But they are concerned about Islamist control spreading throughout the Arab countries and into the Islamic Arc.


  1. Salaam said:
    Israel will no longer have the sly support of any Arab government and will have to adjust to a very new reality

    Is this revolution about bringing democracy to Egypt? What does democracy in Egypt mean? Everyone gets to vote for an the Islamist candidate of their choice? Will we see a secular democracy in Egypt or another Islamic Republic?

    What is the new reality that Israel must adjust to?

  2. The reality is that Jews and Arabs got along reasonably well until certain Arabs such as Yasser Arafat's uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, became enamored with Adolph Hitler.

    The fact is that since the fall of the Ottoman empire, the middle east has been in disarray. Syria has been controlled by a strong man and his son. Beirut was destroyed and Lebanon was ruined. Arafat was thrown out of Jordan. Did Israel do all this? No. Arabs did it to one another.

    Israel is simply a scapegoat for the dysfunction of an Arab society which is having a problem with modernity.

  3. I am hopeful that Arab young people can be the catalyst for change in the Arab world. It's up to the young people to throw off the shackles of military and religious totalitarism. Do not trade a military dictator for a religious one.

  4. It's not often mentioned that prior to the first Intifada, Arab people living on the west bank and in the so-called "refugee camps" enjoyed a much better standard of living. They had jobs in Israel and traveled back and forth daily. There were more professionals such as Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, etc living in the so-called occupied lands than there are today. What happened? Arabs let themselves be seduced by Arafat. Arabs gave in to the age old racism hatred of the Jews.

    Look at what has happened.

  5. In a country of 85 million the military have at best about 500,000. and many are conscripts, even the officers. ---13 Million Egyptians live in slums.---The armyis small and the people are massive, and the people can mobilise these millions, as has been seen and proved at least three times so far, but the main point is, anyway, that the military exists for the people, not for a small coterie of the rich, if they fail to support their people they lose their whole rationale and become equal to foreign forces. But that is very unlikely. The generals are not that stupid.

    The Egyptian military has been supported by the US and secretly and not so secretly by Israel.Every Egyptian knows that.---An Egypt run directly by its armed forces will be an American client state in a more direct and thoroughly unsubtle way. Israel will demand that from theUS. Israel cannot afford to be idle in front of such forces because Israel has policies that have adjusted to the old reality --- not the new. Israel will face this reality:

    The Press Office of the PFLP issued a statement, congratulating the people of Egypt and the Arab nation for their victory against tyranny and subjugation, and saying that

    "the victory of the great Egyptian revolution is also a victory for the Palestinian cause and the Arab nation as a whole."

    The statement continued by noting that

    "the people of Egypt will be able to achieve the full objectives of their revolution for freedom, democracy and independence, and they will end the era of Camp David and restore Egypt's historically significant role. The fall of tyranny and subordination in Egypt, in the form of the despotic regime of Hosni Mubarak, is a result of the steadfastness of Egypt's masses, and this historical revolution was triggered by the Egyptian youth and their free people. The PFLP and all Arab people today welcome their victory that restores Egypt's leading role in the protection of Arab national security and the Palestinian cause."

    Said the statement,

    "The triumph of the Egyptian people's revolution is a turning point in the history of the Arab nation. It paves the way for the construction of a new Arab era with no room for the dominance of Zionism and imperialism or the subjugation of the capabilities of the Arab nation...These events in Egypt and the historic transformations to follow have direct consequences for the Palestinian cause and will help the Palestinian cause to end the Oslo agreements and its ensuing approach, and rebuild the Palestinian national movement."

  6. If I were Israeli, I would not be pleased at how quickly the American govt. through Mubarak under the bus.

  7. Technology is the problem in the Muslim world. Satellites, telephones, movies,education and air travel have exposed Muslim people to the best and the worst of freedom. Islamists can't adapt to a modernity which I admit is often very ugly in its decadence. The Islamists are reacting violently to what they see as an existential threat to their religion. Until Islam can come to grips with the reality of our modern world, Muslim people will suffer not at the hands of Jews, Neocons, and Christian Zionists but at the hands of their fellow Muslims.

  8. This is probably Iran all over again.

    Egypt will, within a few years, attack Israel again. Israel will destroy Egypt's army, Again.

    Egypt will starve.

    No money, no job, no prospects.

    It's going to be a bad time to be an Egyptian.

  9. The Egyptian military has been supported by the US and secretly and not so secretly by Israel

    Who were the US and Israel going to support? The people who gunned down Anwar Sadat?

  10. Egypt imports over 50% of its food.

    Egypt is, now, an oil Importer.

    Egypt has no manufacturing products to export.

    Egypt's only source of money to buy food is tourism.

    Tourism is, Now, dead - not "sleeping," not "dormant," Dead.

    Egypt is a "dead man walking."

  11. Salaad states:

    Israel will no longer have the sly support of any Arab government and will have to adjust to a very new reality

    If this new reality is a state of war with Israel, tell me salaad, how will Egypt fare after the Aswan dam is destroyed?

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Saluud must have the EB mixed up with the Belmont Club in the neocon department.

  14. Listening to McCain on Face the Nation. It is no wonder we ended up with Obama, but he is making some sense.

  15. McCain is a genius, alright. He went to Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio, and told them how bad a deal he thought ethanol was.

    I mean, "how did he lose?"

  16. The PFLP will lead Egypt down the path of destruction. Do not listen to them.

  17. Car sales are running about 70 Million/Yr, worldwide.

    Net, after scrappage, is probably about 40 to 45 Million.

    This, alone, calls for an extra 2.5 to 3.0 Million Barrels of Oil/Day, Every Year.

    Existing Fields are Depleting at about 3.5 Million Barrels/Day, annually.

    That's 6 Million Barrels/Day that we need to add Every Year.

    Not a chance in the world.

    We're getting into serious "ass-pucker" time.

  18. "Total Liquids" produced last month was 88.5 million barrels/day.

    Back out the worldwide increase in Biofuels, and you're at approx. 86.5 mbpd.

    That's about where we were in 2005 when Brent was selling for $40.00/bbl. Today Brent is selling for $101.00/bbl.

  19. It takes about 2.5 years to build an ethanol refinery (on average - if we really went balls-to-the-walls to build multiple, small, cookie-cutter projects we could probably get that down to one and a half years.)

    We've brought 200 refineries online in the last 3 years, BUT we only have a couple left under construction, and only a couple of small cellulosic projects being started.

    In other words, the spurt in ethanol production is over. Next year's increased demand will have to be met by OIL.

    Ain't gonna hoppen, GI.

  20. Saudi Arabia Does Not have 5.5 Million bbl/day "spare capacity." They don't have 1.5 million bbl/day spare capacity.

    The Saudis claimed to have 3.0 Million Barrels/Day spare capacity in July of '08 when oil went to $147/bbl.

    They were lying of course; and they're lying now. To admit to the truth would start a worldwide rush to "conservation, and alternatives." Hardly what they want to see.

    The Sauds, along with Exxon, BP, Shell, and the other Majors control the MSM, and, thus, the narrative. They are lying like dogs. We're in bad trouble.

    Egypt is in Dire Trouble.

  21. Short term pain, Ruf. As long as the markets are free, they'll adjust. The bottom line is the bottom line. The great thing about the good 'ol USA is that somebody somewhere is going to figure out how to make a profit. If gas prices, go too high, people will get on the buses and trains and the alternative fuels will come to the fore. If the car makers can't sell gasoline powered cars, they'll produce what they can sell.

    BTW - I heard again recently that too much corn has been diverted into ethanol production and is resulting in food inflation. I thought that the corn was 'feed corn' that would have been otherwise not grown or fed to animals.

  22. It has long been the assertion of the elites that those "Harvard-educated" Saudi rulers would not let the price of oil ever again go so high as to collapse the world economy. It was said that the Sauds recognized that that would Not be in their self-interests.

    Now, those same elites tell us, without blinking an eye, that Saudi Arabia had 3.0 barrels/day that they were holding off the market as the world economy was imploding (AND, while prices were driving toward $150/bbl.)

    Then, in as great a display of discordancy as has ever been seen in this or any other universe, they tell us that the Sauds will whip out this mythical 5.5 mbpd This Time.

    Bro, Gimmee a Break.

  23. That "short term" could last awhile, Whit.

    After allowing for the Distillers Grains, Whit, ethanol is taking up about 2% of World-wide grain production.

    Grains are high due to some really anomalous weather events all around the world, AND a goodly amount of speculation, and hoarding of various countries.

    The Oil Biz, and their sockpuppets will use every opportunity to try to discourage further development of biofuels. That's their job; it's what they do. And, they're damned good at it.

  24. The good news with higher oil prices?

    Food for the REST of the world will double, triple or go even higher..

    This means food riots across africa, the arab world, india and china...

    If you are not a food producer in the coming decades?

    You will starve.

    This means YOU Gaza & Egypt...

    Learn to grow food...

    It's a sure bet more fun then teaching your young to be suicide bombers...

  25. Salaad, just FYI, when I typed Saluud, it was unintentional. I doubt we will agree on much, but that can be done respecfully.

  26. It looks to me like there could be a new confrontation.

    The support of western governments will soon start to evaporate, and negative images broadcast from a state controlled media will support them. The example of Chavez is a good one. With a groundswell of support from the favellas , he seized power, then when the time was right, held elections. I do not see how a representational democracy, for example, like ours, could arise spontaneously from the toppling of a ruthless dictator, while the structure of oppression he built up over 30 years remains intact. Consequently, a continuation of, or a return to, tyranny would remain a distinct possibility.However that is further complicated in that the position of the army - or rather the High Command - is much weaker than they are pretending.

    The army is divided into three strata:

    1) The High Command. They are certainly with Mubarak and the old regime. We are hearing their point of view in the public communiqu├ęs.

    2) The lower officers are drawn from the same educated classes as the demonstrators. The photos of demonstrators sleeping on the wheels of M60 tanks (not merely M113 armored personnel carriers) show very well their attitudes.

    3) The private soldiers are conscripts from the Egyptian peasantry. They have gone with their officers rather than the High Command. This is important as there is no other indication of the views of the lower classes (other, that is, than the views of the Egyptian vegetable sellers here in the market in Nanterre, a Paris suburb, which goes in the same sense).

    So... In fact, the army is subject to the views of the demonstrators, whatever they may say, until the army can be restructured to be loyal. Not very easy.

    So, I don't find the declarations of the Army High Command to be very convincing. What we hear today may be different tomorrow. In short this thing is far from settled and anything can happen, and that includes the possibility of an Islamic state far worse than the recent regime.

  27. "Israel is simply a scapegoat for the dysfunction of an Arab society which is having a problem with modernity...I am hopeful that Arab young people can be the catalyst for change in the Arab world. It's up to the young people to throw off the shackles of military and religious totalitarism. Do not trade a military dictator for a religious one."


    All this talk about Egyptian "democracy" and dysfunction is very misleading and this is being done deliberately.

    What these politicians and commentators here and on other blogs in the West actually mean (but refuse to state clearly) is that everyone in the world must adopt a version of "governance" as practiced at any particular time in the West. This is premised on the notion that whatever westerners decide at any given time is right must be so because westerners are naturally and inherently superior to everyone else. Please!!

  28. Blogger Deuce said...

    Diversity is Toronto's strength or it's downfall

    As usual Ash wraps himself in his own sanctimonious robe and stands in his stool of moral superiority regardless of the facts. Yes, that is right, standing in his stool as opposed to standing on his stool.

    Hee hee - what a witty turn of phrase.

    Anyway, your arguments that followed sucked. You linked a few blogs and a YouTube video of an anti-israeli protest. I also saw a link there referencing the Toronto 18 who got caught ineptly trying to blow up stuff.

    There are bad folk fer sure, even in Toronto but we do have the right to freedom of assembly and speech. You are entitled to protest the policies of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Tamils demonstrated often in Toronto as the Sri Lankan army defeated the insurgents. Still, all these distinct communities, these diverse people live side by side here in the city without much bloodshed. I say much because I'm sure there has been some but I can't think of any recent incidents.

    And I reference myself as "pasty white" more in jest then anything else especially as I sit here, untanned, in middle of winter. I am a 'classic white guy born in the middle (Colorado) of the USA' - somewhat of a stereo type that is fer sure and I know y'all luv your stereotypes here. So, even a pasty white middle america guy can appreciate the wide variety of cultures that co-exist here in Toronto. Most of the criticisms of Toronto are that it is boring and the people too polite. Hardly the road to ruin that you folk associate with diversity.

    Many of you here seem to be caught up in the same dilemma that the Obama administration was/is regarding Egypt. On the one hand you don't like dictators but you are mindful of he being 'our dictator' helping to further American interests in the region. Now that he has fallen (with little credit due Dubya - his example was democracy born of American intervention which Egypt patently is not) the worry is that Islamists will rise to the top of the power structure. A valid worry but hopefully democracy will prevail and that the moderates will be in the majority. If not, well, at least we can hold the populace accountable for the government they choose. There is the possibility that another form of authoritarian government may take hold, and Islamic one like in Iran, and I hope it doesn't, but if America supports dictators like Mubarak then America risks being on the wrong side of history like it did when backing the Shah of Iran.

    The middle east is a tough game but cynically supporting dictators has a serious down side if 'your man' should fall from power. Best to be on 'the peoples' side and hold them accountable.

  29. Ash, lest you misunderstand my position, it is not support for a dictator. I object to US interference in the affairs of others that leave us alone. Obama should not be telling the Egyptians what to do and we should not be preaching democracy to anyone. We need to mind oiur own business unless someone attacks us and then we should destroy them. They live us alone, we return the favor.

  30. I hear all this bullshit about American interests. Just what are they and says who? Our interests should be getting wealthier and healthier.

  31. Grains are high due to some really anomalous weather events all around the world, AND a goodly amount of speculation, and hoarding of various countries.

    Actually, corn and other grain prices have been skyrocketing (particularly corn) for several years prior to the anomalous weather events you mention. Mexicans were complaining over three years ago about the cost of tortilla, and even in the USA a modest price increase could be noted in that market. Cereal producers managed to absorb rising costs, in part by reducing package sizes and marketing costs, so until recently families in the USA saw relatively little impact on grocery prices.

    The diversion of corn to biofool production had the early effects noted above, and the delayed effect of increased beef, poultry, dairy, egg, and related commodities that we are presently witnessing. The effects of current weather conditions have yet to significantly impact staple food items, but that effect will occur during the course of the next year.

    This will exert profound stress upon already marginal Arab governments; more than half the population of Egypt, for example, subsists on less than $2 per day - rising prices for staples and the unbalanced very rich/very poor economic chasm served as initial triggers for uprisings in Tunisia and subsequently in Egypt.

    Today, Tunisians are engaged in a massive exodus as their new-found freedom had no effect upon staple food prices and other facts of life in the country.

  32. I don't believe that there is a people's side. The people fell for Obama, why would I side with that?

    We blew a $1T in Iraq for which people? Had we invested that same money in the Americas, a whole lot of people would be healthier and wealthier in lands where we do have interests.

  33. Anonymous @1:22

    That's nonsense.

  34. I agree, Deuce, that the USA should decrease its foreign meddling. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world (Korea for example, Egypt) the American hand is firmly involved and the act of not meddling becomes meddling. For example, withdrawing US forces from S. Korea, especially in the face of hostile NORK threats, has great influence upon the events.

  35. Mexican Tortillas are produced from Mexican "White Sweet" Corn.

    The "Mexican" White Sweet corn market is totally unconnected to the North American Yellow Field Corn market.

    Our Yellow Field Corn is used, primarily, to feed animals,

    with a smaller percentage used for cereal (there is about a nickel's worth of corn in a $4.00 Box of Corn Flakes,)

    and some of the starch used for high fructose corn syrup (about $0.02 worth in a Two Liter Coke.)

    The Mexican Food Demonstrations were caused by local corruption, and market manipulation. A few months later the NAFTA restrictions on Corn to Mexico ended, and the Cheaper U.S. Corn was able to be imported into Mexico.

    We haven't heard anything out of Mexico since (except for some early demonstrations by Mexican farmers protesting the "cheap Norte Americano corn."

  36. Even with today's high wheat prices the plastic wrapper on a loaf of bread still costs more than the wheat inside.

    At approx. $0.13/lb corn is still one of the cheapest things one can buy.

    I watched those Egyptian protestors, and their "signs," and I never saw the word "Food" mentioned. And, they looked, to me, to be pretty well-fed.

  37. As for that "$2.00/day" problem:

    I've got news for you; the U.S. cannot feed a world full of people making $2.00 a day. We would go dead broke trying.

    They are going to have to make more money - or, they are going to get real damned skinny. That's Nature's Rules, not mine.

    Nature don't give a good goddamned whether I, or you, or anyone else "approves," or "disapproves."

    Nature "Disposes."

  38. BTW, Max, if you will Go Here you will see that Yellow Field Corn was selling in June of '09 for about half of what it is today - less than $0.07/lb.

  39. And, the odds are real good that that's about what it will be selling for in June of "next" year.

    That's slightly above the minimum price farmers have to get to make a profit, before subsidies.

  40. No, "Grains" aren't going to be the problem, Bubba. There is an enormous amount of unused, fallow land around the world. The price of grains will fluctuate, but it will always return to the "slightly profitable" level.

    The Problem is going to be "DEPRESSION." And, THAT will be caused by "lack of affordable energy."

  41. CHINA is growing its oil consumption Way More than the experts (EIA, IEA, EIEIO) said they would.

    In Nov. 2009 China consumed 7.7 Million bbl oil/day.

    In Nov 2010 China consumed 10.4 Million bbl oil/day.

    Now, WE are trying to come out of recession. As is Europe, the world's Second Largest Consumer of oil.

    And, Production is, basically, stuck at 2005 levels.

    How does That sound?

  42. This is what the Ahmed family in Cairo eats for $68.53 per week.

    © Peter Menzel from the 2006 book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

  43. Not a lot of sugary soft drinks, no corn flakes, and no T-Bone Steaks.

    Those people could care less if I put ethanol in my "gas" tank

    (as long as I'm able to go to work, and send them money, anyway.)

  44. They all look pretty plump, except for the old man. I bet he's seen "hard times."

    I bet he knows they're coming back, too.

  45. I bet he'd, also, just as soon cut Ash's multi-culti throat as look at him. :)

  46. multi-culti, pasty white throat.

  47. Damn! T took her name off the bartender's list.

    Who offended her this time?

  48. Rufus II said...
    Egypt imports over 50% of its food.

    Egypt is, now, an oil Importer.

    Egypt has no manufacturing products to export.

    Egypt's only source of money to buy food is tourism.

    Tourism is, Now, dead - not "sleeping," not "dormant," Dead.

    Egypt is a "dead man walking."


    Somebody said how much money the military got from us, and they wouldn't do anything to jepardize that.

    Walid Shoebat replied:

    "The Muslim Brotherhood does not care about such things:

    Tourism was a larger source of income and they've just about destroyed that.

    Plus, with The One in office, they may continue to get cash regardless of what the MB does.

  49. The Randall Wallace Keynote Address at the National Prayer Breakfast has been an on again off again affair sometime showing at C-Span.

    It is now on again as part of the entire event video.
    You can avoid suffering through the President's portion by skipping to the 34 minute mark.

    Highly entertaining, and highly recommended.

  50. Let me guess, Ash, The Peoples Republic of Boulder?

    You should be proud, you and Salaad being fair thinking buddies.

  51. Bwahahahahahaha


    I burnt my ass at the tanning salon the other day.

  52. Across Europe, there is a recognition that multiculturalism has failed in its own terms, creating ghettos and cutting off some immigrant women, in particular, from full participation in a free society.